We Shall Never Forget?

 

“…let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them…”

Deut 20:3 (KJV)

On 9/11/2001 I was working as the Senior Operations Manager for a 1.2 million square foot Super-Regional Shopping Mall.  My responsibilities included managing a budget of around $8 million; other responsibilities included the oversight of Project Management, Mall Security, Construction, Maintenance and Repairs, Housekeeping, etc.  One of the things that were underway was a soft playground for children visiting the mall, based upon a City of Lewisville theme.  I was in a high profile position, very visible, and basically had arrived at the top of my field.

Like millions of other Americans, I got dressed that day and started driving to work.  “Just another day at the office,” I thought.  Soon, I was reminded of the ever present evil in our world.

Little did I know that morning that my priorities would change so quickly and drastically!  All of a sudden that day my mind shifted from the entertainment and comfort of our visitors to the security and safety of our guests.  Instead of deciding how to use the city water tower in the theme for a playground I was researching concrete barriers to prevent car bomb attacks.  My thoughts had shifted to issues such as effective and safe evacuation of the mall during the Christmas season when we were at our highest capacity?  Where were we to have people go?  If there were other types of emergencies such as tornado’s and life safety strategies in such an event.  My life changed that day, and in more ways than one.

Some people died instantly that morning, with no warning or time to reflect or prepare.  They may had been sitting safely at their desks performing their daily routines.  They may have been putting the cream and sugar in their coffee.  Then suddenly everything around them burst into flames; suddenly their stories ended.  Others escaped the flames and horror, passing brave souls as they entered the building trying to help others, never again to leave.  Others were not so fortunate.

I watched the news in horror as people died.  I can still hear the thuds; sounds of people impacting the ground (having jumped to escape the flames in the buildings); the very moment of their death.  Each horrible, haunting sound heard on the news  was another extinguished life; each a son, daughter, grandchild, spouse, friend.  Each had left their loved ones that morning for just another day at the office.  Even today, I greatly dislike flying, and even more so am very uncomfortable when my loved ones fly.  This is one of those common illogical human responses in a post-9/11 world.  Yes I trust in God, but I also have learned in my 38 years as a Christian that bad things happen to good people every day.  In these times, we can take our encouragement from Scripture:


When I am afraid, I put my trust in thee.
In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust without a fear. What can flesh do to me?

Psalms 56:3-4 (RSV)

Human elements may bring terror, but remember they are not the real enemy:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Eph 6:12 (KJV)

I recall wondering how many of them were like me at that time; focused upon work, careers and climbing the corporate ladder, and the stresses and the pressures of everyday life.  How many of the people who died on 9/11 were self-centered and cared little for others? How many were known for  doing whatever it took to ‘succeed’ in life.  Yes, we are to honor God in our jobs, and the Christian is to be the best employee any company can hope to have:

“…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

1 Cor 10:31 (RSV)

However, we must remember that lost moments are never regained.  Were people thinking at the moment they jumped to their deaths how they wish they had spent more time at work or advanced their careers with a little more vitality?  They were most likely thinking of their wives, children, grandchildren, parents, and the memories of a lifetime.  They may have been recalling regrets, like missed birthdays and family events while they furthered their careers.  I wonder often how many of them in the instant before they knew they were about to die thought:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.

Psalms 23:4 (RSV)

I was a career man on the day America was attacked by a cowardly and evil enemy.  I was in the best job of my adult life, and the losses we all experienced that day changed my life forever.  In some ways it has turned out worse, in other ways I am a much better man.  One of the positive changes was I vowed to never again take my wife (or family) for granted.  I have morbidly thought about what my thoughts would have been that day, in those moments before I had died; she would have been the thing I would have wished I could have held in my arms one more second.  That day my thoughts suddenly refocused on her and my family.  As Curly counseled in ‘City Slickers,’ what is your one thing?  That is what you have to figure out.  I doubt it would have been your career…

As I have reevaluated my life over the past 10 years, I have realized how I cherish those moments when my wife and I create the memories that will sustain us in our twilight years.   I realized that she (and of course my family) is my one thing.  I suggest you, on this anniversary of 9/11, think carefully; if you were about to leap off a skyscraper to escape the flames, aside from God, what would be your one thing?  Never forget the horror and sacrifices of that day, never.  Also, once you figure out what it is, remember your one thing; grasp it, hold on to it, embrace it.  Never forget that while the master minds of 9/11 may be dead, the evil that inspired them is ever present in our world.

Allow events like 9/11/2001 to change your life.  Allow God to use them to sharpen your tool and make you a better follower of Christ, a better husband, a better wife, a better father or mother, a better employee .  And remember the promises of Scripture:

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39 (NASB77)

Aside from your personal relationship with God, nothing else matters.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment…Heb 9:27 (KJV)

 

This post was written by

kc5lei – who has written 50 posts on One Flesh Ministries.

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